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What is involved in a prostitution case?

Some people call prostitution a victimless crime. Law enforcement agencies, however, do not view it that way. But still, some of our New Jersey readers may be wondering, what exactly is involved in a prostitution case and who can get arrested in this type of case?

Well, although there are always at least two people involved in this type of criminal transaction, there could also be a third: the "pimp" - a middleman who arranges the sexual encounter between a prostitute and the "customer." In many cases the pimp is actually the one who faces the most severe criminal charges, mostly because these days many cases of prostitution are alleged to involve human trafficking as well as sexual services. People who are the focus of criminal investigations with these types of circumstances may even be the subject of a federal case.

But, in what is probably the most common type of prostitution charge, there is the person selling the sexual service and the person buying the service - a person often referred to as a "john." The person selling the sexual service would be the one to face the prostitution charge, while the person buying the sexual service would face a charge of soliciting prostitution. In other words, if there isn't both a buyer and a seller, there isn't a transaction. Both charges are usually misdemeanors, unless they are repeat offenses.

Any New Jersey criminal defense attorney would most likely tell our readers that targeting prostitution is one of the main activities for police vice units. Many times female officers will go undercover in an attempt to catch someone soliciting sexual services, while other times male officers go undercover as the purported buyer of services. The most important thing to know about prostitution is that it is illegal in all U.S. states except in Nevada - where it is still heavily regulated despite being legal in some parts of the state - and that facing a charge related to prostitution can pose quite a few problems for the arrestee, both personally and professionally.

Source: FindLaw, "Prostitution," accessed on Aug. 29, 2014

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